Autonomous airline Xwing expands air cargo operations to 400 weekly flights
Autonomous airline Xwing is marking what it describes as “significant milestones,” including expanding its commercial cargo operations under the FAA CFR Part 135 Air Carrier certificate, adding FAA CFR Part 145 certificates and the ” rapid growth of the company”.
Over the past 12 months, Xwing has more than tripled its team to 180 employees.
Xwing has completed the acquisition of Martinaire Aviation, a Texas-based FAR Part 135 air cargo carrier with over 40 years of experience across the United States.
This acquisition follows last year’s successful acquisition of AirPac Airlines, another Pacific Northwest-based refueling cargo operator.
These acquisitions, combined with organic growth, now bring Xwing’s total cargo fleet to 35 aircraft operating more than 400 weekly commercial flights across the United States, making the company one of the largest Cessna 208B operators in the world. the freight market.
To date, Xwing has completed nearly 10,000 flights, transporting 4.9 million pounds of cargo 1 million miles. These operations were carried out within the regional air freight network of the global logistics company UPS (United Parcel Service).
As the company continues to build up all of the regulatory approvals necessary for autonomous flight operations, in addition to Xwing’s Part 135 Air Operator Certificate, Xwing now also operates two Part 145 certified aircraft maintenance facilities, significantly expanding its capabilities beyond flight operations to aircraft maintenance, inspection and modification services.
Marc Piette, CEO and Founder of Xwing, says, “Our commercial cargo operations are critical to our approach to certification. When it comes to integrating unmanned aircraft into the airspace, FAA operational approvals are just as important as certification of the technology on board the aircraft.
“Using data collected from our commercial freight routes, we can continually optimize and refine our system end-to-end, and find the best solution for our customers.”
Xwing began commercial cargo operations in 2020, operating peak season routes from Phoenix, Arizona. While Xwing continues its work to certify autonomous flight technology with the FAA, the company’s commercial cargo flights have been performed by pilots flying standard, unmodified Cessna Caravan aircraft under its Part 135 certificate.
These operations now take place at 58 airports in 14 US states, including North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Oregon and Washington.
Xwing’s main objective for the expansion of its commercial air cargo operations is to continue to refine its operational capabilities in all aspects of air cargo and to streamline the deployment of its autonomous technologies within its fleet once certified.
The company has demonstrated fully autonomous gate-to-gate capabilities since February 2021, including the ability to successfully taxi on and off the runway while navigating various obstacles and ground operations.
Xwing’s technology can lead to fuel savings through improved routing and optimized ground and air operations.
From two routes in 2020, growing to nine routes and adding North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest in 2021, to now operating more than 33 daily routes across the United States, Xwing continues to be a leader in the regional air mobility market.
These milestones follow Xwing’s recent placement on Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas list in the transportation category, and the appointment of former FAA executive Earl Lawrence to lead the company for lead its certification efforts.